Trying to understand, a little (a mini patriotic rant) 

A facebook friend of mine whom I went to high school with recently posted this status:

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First off all, yes, my facebook is in German. So sue me.

Secondly, I have to say, I really don’t know how to feel about it. I don’t understand. What’s the point of expressing you apathy in this kind of situation? Let’s review. 9/11 was a tragedy that shook the world. An unprecedented slaughter of nearly 3000 (yes, three THOUSAND) people, many of whom were trying to save the lives of others even as they died.

I understand that, yes, the world has seen its share of tragedies. And I also understand that many of them are not memorialized. Well, people die every day… shouldn’t all of them be remembered in some fashion? Thousands died on 9/11, all in the same fell swoop. Shouldn’t they be remembered, and the heroes honored? 9/11 gets some publicity yearly. What’s the big deal? I don’t get it.

Is she upset that horrors elsewhere are not being publicized? Stop bitching on facebook and write to your local news station. Or start a blog to talk about issues that motivate you– like Melody has.

Or maybe, it’s the fact that 9/11 is STILL memorialized eleven years after the fact. Is that the problem?

Personally, I don’t see much wrong with recognizing the deaths of thousands of people, remembering that they have families and friends still here, and thinking of them as the day passes. I remember my relatives who have passed on when their birthdays roll around, or a specific thing occurs that reminds me of them.

I think of the victims of 9/11 every time I catch the time on the clock.

I may have only been in third grade in 2001, and I may or may not have only understood that I couldn’t watch TV when I got home from school because the news was on and that’s all my parents wanted to see. But I came to realize in short order exactly how terrible a tragedy it was.

And now, to see something so dismissive, so bland and unfeeling, about an event that changed this country, changed the world, and changed the lives of millions by ripping from them their loved ones… it’s disheartening, at least. “There have been worse tragedies?” That’s like saying, “Let’s not celebrate Memorial Day, because we don’t give a shit and people die every day.” “Let’s not recognize that the Holocaust happened, because they’re already dead and currently no one’s showing a growing desire for gas chambers.”

I just don’t understand. One day out of the year to remember isn’t such a great sacrifice, for me at least, when I think about those who sacrificed their lives nearly eleven years ago. A few moments to pause and think about the victims of an unspeakable tragedy aren’t a huge waste. A life taken is a life taken. And I guess that’s how I feel about it.

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You can while away the hours (like me)

Apparently the only useful skill I have right now is procrastination. I don’t want to unpack all of my clothes because I don’t have music on. I don’t want to turn music on because I don’t know what I want to listen to. I don’t want to listen to anything that’ll make me think of home for too long, because I miss it.

I called Grandma tonight, and that was good. Mom spent an extra three hours with me in Rochester helping me solve my phone dilemma. What more could I have wanted?

I still have my Deutsch to do and I am skyping with Kenneth in less than an hour. Ironically my German homework is a Familienstammbaum. Kühl. Not.

Anyway I guess I’d better get working on it. I’ve only been to Facebook and Twitter twenty times in the past twenty-six minutes….

April again

It’s so wild. Wild that almost a year has gone by since I wrote this post about my cousin Daniel’s death. I didn’t know him, but my mother and his were best friends when they were my age. My other cousins on my mother’s side knew him much more than I did.

A week after his death was my junior prom. I remember riding with my mother in the car to the hair place, heartsick to know what grief was doing to members of his (and my) family. I know I felt stupid because I was upset: after all, I’d barely known of him, let alone knew him personally. I was just aware of the situation. A nineteen year old junior in college fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck. I could only imagine the sheer injustice of it, the pain his mother must have been experiencing. And his siblings. His father. Oh God.

But I felt like an idiot because it didn’t seem like my grief to bear. For someone who’d so rarely come into contact with death, I was confused and wondered if maybe grief should be rightfully expressed by those whose lives Daniel had changed, and not by me. I guess I thought that maybe the family or friends would be angry to see a stranger, barely related, mourning someone so dear to them. I don’t know. Like I said, I was confused. The confusion did nothing to lessen the echo of pain I felt for them.

When I tried to express this convoluted jumble of emotion and thought, my mother reasoned it out for me. She told me that it wasn’t an insult to grieve over a stranger. She also pointed out, “Sometimes someone’s death can change a lot of lives.”

I guess I’m a living tribute to that statement. Here I’d never known Daniel, probably spoken to him once, maybe twice, but I’ve blogged about him, wondered about him, and drawn courage from his story more times that I can count.

According to his family, his friends, and complete strangers, he was a gent who lived out his life to the fullest. He was going to graduate a year early, a history major at Brockport. He was kind, funny, and genuinely liked people (more than can be said for most of humanity). He smoked Newports and wore a red bandana all the time.

He lived his life without fear and with a laugh. The final quote on his facebook wall is the one I have posted in the left sidebar (by Anberlin): “Life for today, we’ll dream tomorrow; we’ve got big plans in sight.”

He changed my life. It’s because of his life, and the way he lived it, that I make an effort, every day, to live for the moment, to plan, dream, and take every breath like it’s both gift and blessing. It doesn’t matter that I never knew him; if in some unknown, nebulous afterlife I encounter him, he’ll be one of the first I thank.

Weak thesis post

Ten minutes to go. I thought I’d get through this class– I was really trying to behave. No matter how much I attempt to distract myself or focus in here, though, it’s impossible.

Since class started, I have:
– been on facebook
– (twice)
– tweeted about how much I don’t want to be here
– read a nifty blog
– kind of paid attention
– typed out a half-page of half-developed notes
– saw that David was also on facebook and mentally applauded him
– learned that my professor really does hold true to the belief that musicians can’t write coherent essays
– pretended that me, blogging, is actually me, taking notes
– checked wordpress stats
– learned that Lalime is signed with the Sabres for one more year (courtesy of Sabres.com)
– talked to Julie about taking a nap in the piano
– wished fervently for caffeine.

It’s ironic that we’re (she’s) discussing brevity right now. “If it’s not concise, it can be distracting.” What an outlandish concept.

Uhg. I honestly don’t even have the energy anymore to bitch about this class. It’s just tiring/not worth it.

And so instead of ranting angrily about the review of the my essay that was just returned, I have this to say.

I’m grateful for brutal feedback. I’m grateful for three hours a week I spend wasting in that dull room surfing the web and pretending to pay attention. I’m grateful for the fact I can relax and sit and take a little time away from the constant motion.

I’m most grateful for the happiness I’ll feel once this semester wraps up.

Just a few thoughts before I go and sleep

Have you ever been creeping on someone (yeah, my method is generally facebook) and found someone from their past that they obviously don’t talk to anymore? Like who’s commented on their older pictures, a LOT, or older statuses?

Then you go to that person’s profile, and you’re not friends, but from the comments you can tell that they were just really, really… nothing like yourself.

I just had that experience and it’s really bizarre thinking that there really are human beings so far removed from what I’m doing. From a general standpoint that looks really shallow and narcissistic. From the intense and focused academic’s, not so much. It’s just shocking to think that there are normal people “out there” living normal lives, with no intent to do anything more than file papers or make burgers or pump gas. It’s not as though those are bad ambitions, but for me, here, it’s such a driven atmosphere of incessant motion. It’s hard to picture the guy who’s bored on his couch watching some baseball with a beer. It’s tough to imagine the girl who’s going to college for something ridiculous like, oh, I don’t know, middle school math education or similar nonsense. It’s strenuous to think of the gal who likes to go tanning and get manicures and take her boyfriend shopping with her so she can talk to him in a cutesy voice. I just can’t picture someone who has That Much Time to Waste.

But maybe, like I said, it’s because it’s so far removed from here. Maybe it’s all just a matter of perspective. Perhaps that same baseball fan or the orange girl decked in pink with too much eyeliner would have trouble envisioning an opera major with a jam-packed schedule and insomnia.

Simply unproductive

I have literally been typing or reading from my computer screen since I woke up today. Breaks for brunch and dinner.

I need to get the hell out of this room. From checking the score of the Bills’ game (I couldn’t take listening, honestly) to surfing facebook to thinking of blogging, my day has been consumed by thoughts of “I should do this” and Typer Shark.

Now I’m going to do my dictation that’s due Friday but I really can’t help but dwell darkly and a little sarcastically on the fact that I’ve closeted myself in this closet-sized box with an unfairly uncomfortable chair for nearly five hours and gotten next to nothing accomplished. I ate seven Halloween Peeps that my aunt sent me and drank half a bottle of one of these:

I thought about trying to figure out how much fluid is actually in one of those, but I think my brain has timed out.

and that’s all. That’s all I’ve done today.